The buzzing of my alarm clock finally woke me up. The sky was still dark as I crawled out of bed and killed the howling monster on my table. My coffee stained magic wand rested on the table from late last night. I looked around the room for my magic costume and props –Yup! They were all packed and ready to go. Arrgh! Now, for the unavoidable morning routine.
Here I was, having to wake up this early in the morning on one of my rare free Saturdays ….. but the adrenaline and excitement of our road trip to Raub, Pahang to visit the kids from the SEMOA home kicked in.
From L to R : Jon, Rajen, Jeff, Reuben, Mcken, Bryan, Anslem Roy, Andrew, Yong Fa & Mike
The Magic Annexe had been planning this trip for a while, and the day was finally here. The last we visited the home was about 4 years ago. I still have vivid and happy memories of that first trip. The agenda for this visit had lunch for us, the visiting group, rounding it up, with the now mandatory stop at the famous ice-kacang shop in Bentong. Ah, yes! Good food served with magic always compliments each other, like cheese and pasta. It was going to be a magically delicious day!
The SEMOA Home is located in Sang Lee, between Bentong & Raub
This trip was better in that we had managed to collect over RM 2,000 in funds. The funds channeled to this specific cause came from our previous event (“The Magic Annexe: Unplugged”), with additional contributions from our Annexians, kind hearted friends and family. Special mention goes to Annexian Rajen to contributed the income from one show to our fund. The money was spent on food supplies, stationery, everyday basic necessities, school shoes and socks. There were also some additional donations in kind which were organized by Mike & Mie. We were also ready with lunch, which Rose, Pam (Rose’s sister) and Roy had prepared early that morning, for the 40 children and 5 adult minders.
Just some of the goodies we brought with us for the children
The ladies dishing out lunch that we brought for the kids
The children queueing for lunch
I had to pick up some friends whom I had invited to come along for this trip and by the time I arrived at The Magic Annexe, the rest of the magicians were already done with the pre-departure briefing and were already loading up supplies into their cars. The 6 convoy car departed from The Magic Annexe at about 9.45 am.
After the 90-minute drive, with Roy in the lead car, we arrived at what we thought was the home. Surprise! It wasn’t where it was the last time we were here. In its place was a 2-storey brick bungalow house. A few frantic calls later to Mr. Jell Martini, the person in charge of the home, we found out that they had moved to another location even further in. It was another 20 minutes before we arrived to the welcoming cheer from the kids at the home.
Following the initial meet-and-greet with the kids, the team sprung into action. Good briefing led to precise action. The stuff brought up from KL was unloaded. Mike was tasked with detailing out the donations with the home. The ladies, grouped under Rose, got the lunch meal sorted out. Reuben was put in charge of prep for the show. The home now had better premises than before. There was even a hall now where we could perform the shows. The bamboo stage was a slight worry for Reuben as to whether it would hold our weight – you know, heavyweight performers and all! While magic was the plan for the day, impromptu ‘trap doors’ weren’t in Reuben’s plan. Jell dispelled his fears by jumping up and down on the stage floor rather forcefully. It was a funny moment. Roy, Jeff and Mr. Jell then shot off to Raub to sort out the arrangements for the purchase of the shoes for the children. As we were setting up for the show on the stage, Mike having finished his assignment, got down to the business of breaking the children out of their polite smiles simply by making a family of spongeballs magically disappear and reappear in different hues.
Reuben & his volunteer plate spinning !!!
The children enjoying themselves
Soon, it was show time! The invisible curtains lifted and Reuben was the opening act. He worked the audience with the skill and finnese of an orchestra conductor to a symphony of cheers, squeals and giggles, which rose to a rapturous roar when this ever versatile performer, whipped out his signature cookie monster ventriloquist act, and uncharacteristically introduced his buddy as “biskut”.
Rajen, who goes by the stage name ‘Coco’ was up next. His experience as a full-time performer was clearly displayed as he built on the show atmosphere from where Reuben had left off leaving his little spectators gasping for air.
Laughter transformed into awe as Andrew mesmerised the crowd with his personal touch of magic, turning candles into silks and weaving doves from thin air. It was os no surprise that there were continued cries for more “burung”magic throughout the rest of the visit.
Rajen aka Coco
Andrew and his "Burung" (bird) magic
As the air warmed up in the afternoon sun, it was time for lunch. Warm fried rice, flavoured sausages and chicken-balls, spiced with chicken curry and love put moonbeams on many little faces. Magic smoked on the dessert menu, as magicians went close up, table to table, to entertain the kids with coins, cards, ropes and anything they could find. Jeff challenged physics by bending a spoon with his mind, Yong Fah persuaded rubber bands to blend into each other, McKen did money magic and Mike’s magical pet raccoon brought on screams and laughter to no end.
Jon Lee teaching the children how to perform a easy to do trick
Newest member Bryan entertaining the children as they had lunch
With lunch over, came the surprise item! It was ballooning time! Our guys were churning out swords, machine guns, flowers, hats, animals of all shapes….. and the children loved it! We even spotted 2 of the kids teaming up to be in colour coordinated balloon outfits.
Rajen & Andrew sculpting some balloons for the children
Armed and dangerous ( and oh so cute!)
A good half hour later, we finally managed to gather the group for photographs and all too soon, it was time for goodbye, but not before the team presented the donations that we’d brought.
The Magic Annexe & Semoa Home BOLEH !!!
We finally bid farewell to the children who hailed us off with a mutiny of balloon poodles, bazookas and pirate swords. The sparkle in their eyes, the tinkle in their smiles and the melody of their laughter was something my paid gigs could never offer. Priceless!!
It was then off to Bentong for our lunch. After a 20 minute drive and a 15 minute traffic crawl into Bentong, ( Bentong HAS traffic jam, you guys!), we had lunch at a Chinese restaurant there and rounded it of with ice-cream, ice-kacang, tow-foo-pok, kaya and pineapple pies. Sound like way too much food but hey it was an excellent round off!
A smooth and safe ride back to PJ with blissful memories of a day well spent! My friends and I are totally looking forward to the next visit.
I really invite you to be a part of these activities. The pay-offs are just immeasurable!
OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO CONTRIBUTED
during THE MAGIC ANNEXE : UNPLUGGED :-
Tay Wei Khoon
Li Yi & Jason
Additional Contributions by :-
Dato' YM Sin
Chua Teong Jiet
Lee Mun Kit
Tan Sook Yin
Photographers : Daniel Seliong, Erica Remington, Elias Phung (Video)